PDS honors veterans with traditional program
by Shaunna Watson
Nov 11, 2012 | 6381 views | 0 0 comments | 278 278 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PDS Vets Program
Some of the veterans and their grandchildren who attend PDS.
view slideshow (4 images)
The Presbyterian Day School Veterans Day Program began with the crisp sound of the fifth and sixth grade students singing "Grand Old Flag" and "The Star Spangled Banner" to a full chapel.

Everyone saying the Pledge of Allegiance followed the opening songs.

Principal Diane Burd's opening remarks highlighted the importance of recognizing veterans and thanking them for their service.

"This is service to a cause greater than itself," she said before introducing guest speaker Lamar Taylor.

Taylor was PDS's first Veterans Day speaker who is not a veteran. He is the parent of a veteran. His son Bradley recently completed serving overseas.

Taylor conveyed to the congregation the passion of his son's dedication to his country and his family's emotional journey during his son's deployment in Afghanistan.

"His mind was made up. There was no doubt about it. He was very passionate about what he wanted to do," Taylor said of his son, Bradley

He painted a picture of each emotion his family experienced during Bradley's service — fear and anxiety, faith, and pride.

"When anxiety and fear crept in on you, you turned back to what your foundation is…faith in Jesus Christ," he said before reading the Soldier's Creed.

Taylor continued to recount the experiences of those serving with his son, their families, the memorial services of the fallen soldiers and the continuous reminder of how fortunate the soldiers in the room were to be home.

He described the support and dedication of a mother who attended the homecoming ceremony whose son had been killed in action.

"There was a lady sitting there with a gold star and she had the name of her son (on it). She was there supporting the others. He had been killed at an earlier date, but she was there for them," said Taylor.

He recalled the massive support of those attending the homecoming that had no affiliation with the armed forces, and the sympathy he felt for those who returned home to be greeted by no one.

"Probably the most humbling thing about it was, as you watched that crowd of people when they met, there was probably 30 in that group that was in the back on the wall. They never had anybody there for them. So, these were people who weren't doing it for any reason other than their intent was to serve the United States," he continued.

"That was probably the one of the biggest humbling items for us."

Taylor encouraged those attending the program to show their appreciation for the service men and women as often as they could.

"Today, young people, when you see a veteran, when you see a soldier in the airport, in the mall, even in a restaurant, just take two seconds to stop and say 'Thank you'," he said as he began to share slides of his son Bradley's deployment days.

Following his talk, each veteran was recognized when the anthem of their branch of service was sang and the flags of those branches presented to the congregation.

A heartfelt delivery of "God Bless America" by the fifth- and sixth-graders with an invitation for the congregation to join followed.

Pastor of First Presbyterian Church Michael McLuster said regular Friday chapel services with students reciting weekly Bible versus by grade.

Burd then offered a final thank you to the veterans for their selflessness and a reception for them was held after services where the students were able to meet the veterans to whom they had been writing this year.